As the trade mark consultant within the IP, Data & Contracts team of MBM Commercial, I assist clients with protection and management of trade mark portfolios spanning jurisdictions throughout the world.
When a new trade mark is being considered, this is a key stage in the trade mark protection process. When you have invested in developing a new product or service offering, it is strongly recommended that you protect this investment as comprehensively as possible by registering your brand as a trade mark.
Ideally, the earlier we are involved in devising, protecting and launching the new mark, the more we are able to provide input on the perceived strength of the mark. The ultimate aim for any new mark is to lock down protection strategies and guidelines right at the outset. This provides not only clarity and consistency, but also a flexible framework around which future needs can be moulded as the brand grows and develops.
A key service we offer is 'trade mark clearance searching'. Registered marks are broken up along country lines (e.g.- if you only intend to trade in the UK, only TM registers covering the UK need be checked before adopting a mark). Searches can be carried out on the relevant registers to provide comfort that your new mark does not stand a significant risk of infringing someone else’s trade mark rights. A UK TM availability search, focussing on marks with effect in the UK, can be conducted and reported back at relatively short notice - full results usually issue within five working days from receipt of instructions.
If all searches come back with positive results, the next step is to file to protect the new trade mark. As an exclusive legal right to use the registered mark and any confusingly similar mark, a trade mark registration allows you to extend the potential reach of your business by allowing affiliates, licencees, franchisees, agents and/or distributors to use your brand, without any loss of your control over how it is used. For UK companies, the initial TM application is usually filed in either the national UK or the EU-wide TMs system. Once the initial application has been filed, a six month ‘priority period' commences, at any stage during which corresponding applications in other markets of commercial relevance can be filed.
Once a trade mark portfolio has been established, we often assist with auditing portfolios at regular intervals to suggest cost-saving measures and to highlight potential gaps in protection. We also provide 'watching' services, to monitor worldwide registers for potentially conflicting marks and then advise on the options available. These can include oppositions, revocation and invalidity actions before the IP Offices, as well as infringement proceedings and passing off actions with which our Dispute Resolution team can assist.
Consultant, IP, Data & Contracts
Tel: 0808 252 2647